As a dramatic indicator of the severity of the economic crisis in Turkey, the traditional pastry of ‘baklava’ that normally has layers filled with pistachio, walnut or cream, has been introduced to the retail market -probably for the first time in its entire history- without any fillings so that people can afford buying it.
A prominent economist and academy member, Özgür Demirtaş, tweeted his amazement, saying:
“And now I’ve seen this! But I can’t really fathom, are they making the filling at home so it’ll be cheaper?”
The Ekşisözlük, or ‘Sourdictionary’, that has information on practically any subject provided by about 110,000 authorised writers, and costituting one of the largest online communities in Turkey with over 400,000 registered users, had its first entry on ’empty baklava’ on Thursday. It said:
“Isn’t it indeed some insult calling a dessert made only of glucose syrup and pastry pieces a baklava? And what about us trying to adopt to the lowliness we’ve sunk into, trying even enjoying it? We really are in a pathetic situation.”
The empty baklava is on sale for about 20 Turkish liras (less than 1.5 US dollar) a kilo while baklava with pistachio fillings and butter are currently sold at 200 TL, or ten times the price of empty baklava.
The news of empty baklava immediately hit the media with the following headlines.
Yeniçağ: ‘Empty baklava for 20 liras: Can you draw the picture of poverty for me, Abidin?’*
OdaTV: ‘And now this happened!: Empty Baklava’
Mynet: ‘Empty baklava on the news! A solution by the producers’
Tele1: ‘The inflation took its toll on baklava!’
Artı Gerçek: ‘A new product that tells a lot about economy: Baklava without filling’
The empty baklava has hit the social media as well. Actor and scenario writer Can Yılmaz, tweeted:
“A magnificent experience that lets its content be shaped by the imagination of the consumer. An incredible R&D product. Congratulations. An upgrade should be an empty case to be sold for 7.90 TL. It’s up to you how to fill it.”
* Reference to Nazım Hikmets’s famous poem with the line: ‘Can you draw the picture of happiness for me, Abidin?’